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Polymyositis Specialist

Arthritis Associates -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Associates

Rheumatology & Arthritis located in San Antonio, TX

Polymyositis is a common form of inflammatory myopathy in which your muscles grow weaker and start to shrink. At Arthritis Associates, in San Antonio, Texas, the area’s foremost team of inflammatory disease experts offers the highest level of compassionate and patient-centric care. To book an appointment, call the office or click the online appointment maker.

Polymyositis Q&A

What is polymyositis?

Polymyositis is an inflammatory myopathy, a disease that causes severe muscle weakening. That happens because your immune system attacks and kills healthy muscle tissue. 

Polymyositis and dermatomyositis, a similar condition, are the two most common inflammatory myopathies.

What are the symptoms of polymyositis?

With polymyositis, it's common to experience weakness in the large trunk area muscles — the hips, shoulders, neck, upper arms, and upper legs. The muscle weakness often makes routine movements like climbing stairs or lifting something overhead very difficult or impossible. 

Symptoms usually affect both sides of the body equally. Muscle pain is uncommon with polymyositis, but you could have some soreness or stiffness. Polymyositis is a progressive disease, so without treatment, you usually see increasing muscle deterioration and thinning over time. 

Along with muscle weakening, polymyositis may cause issues like breathing problems, cough, low-grade fever, choking, or unintended weight loss. You may trip or fall frequently as polymyositis progresses.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, lupus, or scleroderma, you're more likely to develop polymyositis. 

How are polymyositis and dermatomyositis different?

Polymyositis and dermatomyositis are very similar. Both are types of inflammatory myopathy, and they’re the two most common forms of this disease. 

The main difference between these two types of myositis is that dermatomyositis causes muscle weakness as well as a rash. The rash may precede or accompany muscle weakness. 

What is the treatment for polymyositis?

As with dermatomyositis treatment, you typically take high-dose oral corticosteroids to fight inflammation and restore optimal muscle enzyme balance. You should see significant improvement in two or three months. 

The Arthritis Associates team monitors your treatment results and helps you to gradually reduce or eliminate corticosteroids once you feel better. 

Long-term use of high-dose oral corticosteroids can weaken your bones and possibly lead to osteoporosis, so the team can prescribe corticosteroid-sparing agents — medications to decrease that risk while controlling the disease long-term.

Physical therapy, regular aerobic exercise at home, and general healthy living practices as recommended by the Arthritis Associates team can all combine with your medical care to help you stay healthy in the long run. 

If you’re having symptoms of muscle weakness, call Arthritis Associates or schedule an appointment online.